My story about the vile homophobic attack on Uruguyan airline attendant Melania Geymonat went wider than I ever could have expected.
At the end of January Forbes published an article prompted by the documentary Leaving Neverland that defenders of Michael Jackson have been circulating on social media as evidence of his innocence.
In it music writer Joe Vogel concludes: “My assessment is that the evidence simply does not point to Michael Jackson's guilt.”
The writer outlines circumstances that he believes indicate the singer’s innocence. Here’s an analysis of his main points:
Why has Wade Robson only come forward now?
The article starts by outlining how accuser Wade Robson, one of two men who claim to have been victims of child sex abuse by Jackson in the two-part documentary, paid a heartfelt tribute to Jackson when he died.
It also highlights how he testified on the star’s behalf in the 2005 trial – where Jackson was found innocent of all charges including four counts of molesting a minor –and how he enjoyed barbecues with Jackson and his children decades after his alleged abuse took place.
On the face of it, it does seem odd that Robson did these things, only to come out with the allegations years later. Robson says that after he married and had a son he suffered two nervous breakdowns that finally forced him to reveal the alleged abuse to a therapist and his family.
“It was just pain and disgust and anger of the idea of that or something like that or anything like that happening to my son,” he said.
The depressing truth is extreme repression and denial among victims of child sexual abuse is common. And the complex emotional attachments formed by manipulative child abusers – Robson speaks of his love for Jackson in the documentary – may also have factored into his actions, even into adulthood.
Ron Zonen, a prosecutor in the 2005 trial who has tried many sex-abuse cases, told Vanity Fair that for male victims testimony “has to be on their terms”.
“They finally decide to disclose when the pain becomes unbearable and it’s not going to get better until they talk to somebody and tell the truth about it.”
The article brings up the unsuccessful $1.5 billion dollar civil lawsuit brought by Robson and co-accuser Jimmy Safechuck in 2013.
What it doesn’t mention is that it was dismissed because Robson had missed the 12-month statutory deadline after Jackson’s death. The judge did not rule on the credibility of the allegations.
A second claim against MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures, two companies owned by Jackson, was dismissed because a judge ruled that as Jackson was the sole shareholder of the companies, no one else had the power to override his wishes. Again, the judge did not rule on the credibility of the allegations.
Legal proceedings that go unmentioned in the article is Jackson paying millions to the families of children he allegedly abused.
These include a $23m settlement to the family of Jordy Chandler, who claimed Jackson groomed and molested him.
The circumstances surrounding the settlement are far too complicated to go into here, but it is worth noting the boy was reportedly able to accurately describe marks on the underside of Jackson’s penis.
Following a strip search by cops, Jackson agreed to the massive settlement. The singer claimed he made the payment in order to move on with his life and it did not represent an admission of guilt. He later expressed regret about the decision.
To Kill A Mockingbird
Vogel writes: “It is no accident that one of Jackson’s favorite books (and movies) was To Kill a Mockingbird, a story about a black man—Tom Robinson—destroyed by false allegations.”
Jackson enjoying a book beloved by millions is no indication of guilt or innocence, whatever its subject matter.
No physical evidence
When Jackson’s homes were ransacked in two police raids in 2005, nothing incriminating was found, writes Vogel.
There is rarely physical evidence in cases of historical sex abuse.
The article states that “dozens of individuals who spent time with Jackson as kids continue to assert nothing sexual ever happened”.
It adds: “This includes hundreds of sick and terminally ill children such as Bela Farkas (for whom Jackson paid for a life-saving liver transplant) and Ryan White (whom Jackson befriended and supported in his final years battling AIDS).”
It also lists celebrity defenders like Macaulay Culkin, Sean Lennon, Emmanuel Lewis, Alfonso Ribeiro, and Corey Feldman, as well as Jackson’s nieces, nephews, and his own three children.
So, the fact that Michael Jackson didn’t molest these particular children is indicative of his innocence as a whole? And the fact his friends did not witness any abuse means its unlikely to have happened?
Paedophiles identify and carefully groom vulnerable victims they can coerce into silence and go to extreme lengths to hide their crimes from friends and family.
The donations highlighted are also irrelevant to the issue – Jimmy Savile raised millions for charities.
The article states: “As an eccentric, wealthy, African American man, Michael Jackson has always been a target for litigation.
“During the 1980s and 1990s, dozens of women falsely claimed he was the father of their children.
“He faced multiple lawsuits falsely claiming he plagiarized various songs. As recently as 2010, a woman named Billie Jean filed a frivolous $600 million paternity lawsuit against Jackson’s Estate.”
This is false equivalency. Jackson being the victim of frivolous litigation doesn’t mean all accusations against him are not credible.
Also, false sexual abuse allegations are incredibly rare.
Michael’s defenders (again)
The Forbes article concludes that none of the people who knew Jackson best believed he was a child molester.
This Vanity Fair article shows that statement to be simply incorrect. And there are at least two boys who arguably knew him better than anyone who believe he was.
This risque little piece didn’t get any pick-up, so I thought I’d bung it on here.
A sex toy manufacturer now offers insurance for broken and STOLEN vibrators.
Womanizer, working with tech insurer hepster, offers an annual policy for its premium adult toys for £17.
The idea was born when a hepster employee had her sex toys swiped on holiday.
Hepster co-founder Hanna Bachmann said: “The idea for sex toy insurance came to us when one of our colleagues told us about the unfortunate end to her surfing vacation.
“On the last evening of her trip, she and her friends were celebrating with another group of girls in her hotel room.
“Once everybody had left, she realized someone had stolen her Womanizer. At first this made us all laugh, but after looking closer, we saw an obvious problem had been revealed.
“Even when the Womanizer is covered by the warranty against damages, a protection against unforeseen issues like theft is missing.
“The loss of an item can hurt a lot, especially with sex toys, which often sit in a mid to high price range.
“So, with that came the idea of the first insurance for sex toys in the world.”
The policy works like mobile phone insurance to protect against damage, destruction and theft – including improper handling like the use of the wrong lubricant.
The scheme is being released in Germany as a trial before a global release.
“We often have customers write to us, whose Womanizers have met an unfortunate end through external, often bizarre, incidents—for example, chewed up by a dog," added Johanna Rief, head of communications at Womanizer.
"All of these cases were not covered by the warranty. We had already been considering the integration of insurance-based protections.
“When hepster got in contact with us, we were enthusiastic about the idea and the chance to work together. That was the birth of our sex toy insurance.”
Claim to please
Victoria, 29, wrote in a testimonial:
“My dog Rambo lived with me for several years before the Womanizer moved in.
Rambo is my best friend and the most faithful and reliable companion I have ever had in my life, but he has a quirk - he hates sex sounds.
“Every time it gets louder, he yells, howls, barks, and chews my shoes.
“Rambo had to go down the hall. He raged there a few times, but eventually accepted his fate. So far so good.
“But one evening I was looking for my Womanizer and I was absolutely sure that I had left it on my dresser.
“When I vacuumed the apartment the next day and moved Rambo's basket, I found my Womanizer, littered with bite marks.
“So Rambo got his way in the end. At least for a short time.”
Lord I’ve been crap on this blog past few months. On the upside it’s because I’ve been very busy, so DON’T JUDGE ME! YOU DON’T KNOW ME! clicks fingers.
I’ve started regular shifts at Retail Week and am contributing to Coinrivet, a news website for the fascinating and deeply confusing world of cryptocurrency.
Also been doing a lot of work for Fox News in the US, mainly tech stuff.
I’ve been a freelancer for a year this month, and am delighted I made the change. It’s been a hard year but I feel like I’ve finally got my feet under me. Onwards and upwards.
Click on headlines for links:
The Daily Star used a feature I wrote about Jemma Miller, who is taking over her late husband's growing bare-knuckle boxing empire. Click on pic for link.
A disturbing new online game that targets young people has emerged on Whatsapp.
Parents are being warned that 'Momo' could be the next Blue Whale – a vile and dangerous social media game linked to at least 130 teen deaths across Russia.
Lots of pick-up on this. Click on links to see more:
A Turkish televangelist who is believed to be conning cancer sufferers out of cash was filmed punching a kangaroo.
What a time to be alive.
Anyway, click on pic below for link to Mail Online article:
If you're anything like me (and if you are, sorry), you're going to need a stiff drink to get through watching the Royal Wedding with your family and/or friends.
So here's some sweet, sweet drinking game rules to gradually numb you until it's time to turn the telly off and fire up the BBQ before a couple of months of blessed relief until she gets pregnant and the collective insanity starts again.
TAKE A DRINK WHEN:
Anyone brings up how much Diana would have loved to be there. As opposed to dying young in a car crash, presumably.
Your mildly racist auntie or mate from school says something disparaging about Meghan like 'You know, she's divorced' or 'well, I don't think she's that pretty'. Not pretty, Aunt Esme? F*cking LOOK AT HER!
Knock your drink if they then say something like 'but it's not because she's black' and then bite your tongue because your mam's giving you the 'remember what happened at Christmas dinner when you mentioned your mate Iqbal' look.
Some absolute jeb wearing a Union Jack suit or Britannia outfit says something that makes you want to cob your glass at the screen. 'I've been camping here since Kate had her baby!' Then you're a gibbering idiot and you probably stink, mate.
Your republican social justice warrior mate says something airy and smug like 'think how many nurses this could have paid for' or 'something something Daily Mail something vinyl something something vegan'.
One of your mates gives an audible, tabloid-style 'PHWOAR!' when they see a hot minor royal or Pippa or someone in a military uniform. Knock your drink if it's Camilla they're referring to.
Every time George or Charlotte do something cute. Yes, this one isn't as mean-spirited as the rest, but they're kids and actually quite adorable. Irritatingly.
Whenever Harry's military service is mentioned. Knock your drink if they bring up the fact that a British prince straight up killed people in a helicopter in Afghanistan. Which is pretty f*cking mad if you think about it.
Someone makes a joke about the fact that someone who once wore a Nazi outfit as a joke is now marrying a black woman. Again, f*cking mad.
Harry does a mildly amusing funny face or something and everyone laughs like he's the mutant offspring of Bill Hicks and Richard Pryor.
Turkish hotel owners are fed up of fraudulent claims by British tourists. First is Sun, second is MailOnline. Click on images for more info.